On Tuesday, Meghan McCain tweeted that her neighborhood looked "like a war zone," and one of her neighbors begged to differ. The co-host of The View was speaking out against the looting and rioting stemming from some protests over the killing of George Floyd, which did hit parts of Manhattan this week. However, according to Full Frontal writer Kristen Bartlett, not in the neighborhood she shares with McCain.
"My neighborhood in Manhattan is eviscerated and looks like a war zone," McCain tweeted on Monday morning. "DeBlasio and Cuomo are an utter disgrace. This is not America. Our leaders have abandoned us and continue to let great American cities burn to the ground and be destroyed. I never could have fathomed this." A few hours later, Bartlett quoted this tweet, adding: "Meghan, we live in the same building, and I just walked outside. It's fine."
Bartlett's followers cackled over the exchange, which went viral for a time that afternoon. McCain later tried to explain herself, writing that her tweet was "based on the news I saw happening in midtown we all have been watching all over different media platforms." Unmoved, critics replied that McCain had clearly and intentionally tried to suggest that her street was in ruins, which was apparently false.
1. I am six months pregnant - a gossip organization is about to run a story of where me and my family are currently. I sent a tweet yesterday based on the news I saw happening in midtown we all have been watching all over different media platforms...— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) June 3, 2020
2. I support the peaceful protests, their movement but am absolutely heartbroken about the destruction in the city I have loved since I moved to when I was 18. It is important to have your voice heard and I hope everyone stays safe and healthy.— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) June 3, 2020
McCain has made multiple tweets distinguishing between "protesters" and "looters," saying that she supports the people demonstrating "peacefully." She was criticized for this, as a growing number of people speak out in sympathy with the destruction of property at the protests around the country.
This turn is happening for several reasons. For one thing, according to a report by The Guardian, police all over the country are being criticized for escalating violence or even inciting it at otherwise peaceful protests. Supporters argue that this is a way for police to justify making arrests and, ultimately, impede the First Amendment rights of people peacefully protesting.
To some, this violation of constitutional rights not only justifies the destruction of public property, it necessitates it. In an op-ed for GQ titled "Why Violent Protests Work," writer Laura Bassett interviewed University of Pennsylvania professor Danliel Q. Gillion about the point at which the protection of human lives supercedes the protection of public property — a point that both seem to feel was passed long ago.
"Nonviolent protest brings awareness to an issue; violent protest brings urgency to an issue. It forces individuals to pay attention to these important discussions of race relations but also prompts the international community to join in and say, "Hey, there's something wrong there,'" Professor Gillion said. "Saying that, naturally I don't condone violence, and I'm not pushing for individuals to engage in unlawful behavior, but if we are objectively examining the influence of protests, we're being disingenuous to say that violent protest does not bring individuals to the table, that it does not lead to policy change. That simply isn't true."